Christmas During a Pandemic

Christmas in any year can be extremely stressful.

Buying gifts, worrying about money, and trying to ensure that everyone on your list is happy can be tough. Add that to the running around, parties, participating in Christmas programs, and attending various celebrations, and you’re looking at an exhausting time of year.

So many of us have vowed to slow things down and simplify. Oddly, the COVID-19 pandemic has sometimes forced us to do those very things.

Of course, this isn’t the way we wanted to slow down and simplify, and we’re feeling it. There are countless people in the world struggling with depression, sadness, and loneliness because they’re having trouble coping with the changes in their lives.

In the United States alone, government authorities in many areas have set different restrictions on holding public performances, dining in restaurants, and gathering in bars. They’ve placed temporary rules on the places people go and the things they do to celebrate the holiday season.

Such pandemic-related restrictions have slowed many of us down — if not stopped us in our tracks. It’s been a long road. For many Americans, not being able to spend the holidays with their loved ones is much more than they feel they can bear.

Now, instead of being stressed and busy, we’re stressed out, riddled with worry and anxiety, and sitting around with nothing much to do. Some people have turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with these feelings and developments.

In fact, the events of 2020 have increased drug abuse and drinking. According to National Public Radio (NPR), drug overdoses have increased by a whopping 18 percent since the start of the pandemic.

So, how can we have a very Merry Christmas without feeling isolated, alone, and anxious? How can we handle things without turning to drugs or alcohol to cope?

It might take some innovation, but celebrating Christmas and other winter holidays during this time can be joyous and fun. We can

  • Make the most of gathering guidelines. Even if you can only gather with two friends and it’s not your parents, keep loneliness at bay and spend time with people you know. Be sure to still take precautions, such as wearing masks and socially distancing when possible.
  • Connect virtually. If you miss seeing family members in person, consider using technology to connect with them online or through the phone. Even though it might not be the same, sometimes seeing your loved one’s faces or hearing their voices can help.
  • Do fun things at home with the members of your household. Thanks to grocery delivery and other services that help us get our hands on the things we need, there is no shortage of supplies or things to do. Buy a cookie decorating kit and have a contest. Pick holiday movies to watch, make crafts, or try a new holiday menu.
  • Go outside. Yes, it’s cold and damp in many places, but consider bundling up to go outside and do something fun. Staying physically and mentally healthy includes getting plenty of activity, and spending time outdoors is a great way to stay busy in a safer way.
  • Take a nap. It might sound boring, but one benefit of being home is that you might have more chances to catch up on your sleep. More rest could mean less stress and a stronger immune system.

While Christmas might be different this year, it doesn’t have to be depressing. With some creativity and some positivity, you can make this season better and can even make it fun.

Sources – Coronavirus Lockdowns by State: What You Need to Know – Depression & Addiction: How One Can Easily Affect the Other – U.S. Sees Deadly Drug Overdose Spike During Pandemic

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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